Business & Real Estate

California used-vehicle sales market stumbles in this year’s opening quarter

While statewide sales of new cars got off to a fast start in the first quarter of this year, California’s used-vehicle market stumbled a bit.

The Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association said used light vehicle registrations in the first three months of this year totaled 873,426, down about 4 percent from 910,868 in the opening quarter of 2014.

CNCDA said the the sales sector of vehicles 3 years old or newer was the only one with a year-over-year increase.

Private party sales accounted for 58 percent of used-car transactions in the first quarter of 2015. Independent dealers sold 22 percent of the total, and franchised dealers sold 20 percent of used vehicles in the most recent quarter.

CNCDA noted that 450,000 vehicles 10 years old or older changed ownership during the first three months of this year, a likely reason for the high number of private party sales.

Last week CNCDA said new-vehicle registrations in this year’s first quarter totaled 477,657, up 12.1 percent from 426,265 in the opening quarter of 2014. CNCDA projected that calendar new-vehicle registrations, including fleet sales, will exceed 1.9 million units in 2015 and possibly reach 2 million by year’s end. The all-time new-vehicle sales record of 2.15 million was set in 2005.